HealthNovember 13, 2016

Taking nursing education mobile offers far more pros than cons

Mobile devices are often the bane of a nursing educator’s existence. There’s likely not a day or class that goes by without at least one student—if not the majority of the class—getting distracted by a shiny, blinking mobile device.

But smartphones and tablets offer nursing faculty an amazing opportunity to turn a distraction into a powerful mobile learning tool in nursing education.

Digital course solutions like Lippincott CoursePoint now bring traditional syllabi, study texts, questions, and exams to life with videos, interactive demos, flashcards, adaptive questions and other types of content—and are accessible anytime in the palm of a student’s hand.

To highlight the possibilities, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for using mobile learning in nursing education.

PRO: Integrated learning

Lippincott CoursePoint now integrates a learner's offline and online experiences, avoiding interruption in study progress while also offering multimedia options to match his or her learning preferences. The future will bring integration of augmented reality (think games like Pokémon Go) to provide added context to real-world activities.

PRO: Point of learning

By utilizing mobile learning in nursing education, nurse educators can now share information with students at any time, in any location, and in real time. This offers the ability to use GPS, RFID, and other technologies to track student activities and even send content relative to a student’s current location, task, or schedule.

PRO: Peer-to-expert/peer contact

With mobile devices, faculty and students can access the right expert(s) at the right time to share experiences and seek advice from anywhere. Applications like FaceTime can put students and educators face to face for information exchange. SMS texts and phone calls are also helpful.

PRO: Ever-better eBooks

To date, eBooks have simply been textbooks repackaged for tablet screens, but they are fast becoming multimedia experiences that blend content, collaboration tools, testing modules, and evaluation/feedback.

PRO: Student-generated content

Nursing can now use smartphones and tablets to create multimedia projects, recording high-quality sound, video, and images—along with other information—for sharing and quality review.

PRO: Actionable data on student progress

Mobile devices, and especially digital courses, give faculty another way by which to collect data on student performance, whether that be in terms of recording answers to questions around live scenarios or recording procedural performance.

CON: Limitations due to screen size

Smartphones don’t have large screens and even tablets may be hard to read, which could be a roadblock for some students. However, education developers are already working to format the next generation of content for easier access, viewing, reading, and interaction on mobile devices.

CON: Yes, they can distract

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, mobile devices have the tendency to distract students and take them out of the classroom experience. This can require a lot of supervision and intervention by instructors to keep students on track. Hopefully, future iterations of mobile-based learning tools will solve this problem by halting some of the more distracting features of mobile devices, like texting.

Want to learn more about how you can enhance student engagement in a digital world?  Download the guide.

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